NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.
GEORGETOWN -- Sussex County Councilman Vance Phillips asked council to consider moving its meetings to nights at its Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2000 council meeting.
Phillips said he conducted an informal survey of approximately 80 people at a recent event and that 81 percent said night meetings "might be more accomodating."
Council currently holds all of its meetings during the day, with council meetings on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Public hearings are typically in the afternoon. The Planning & Zoning Commission holds its hearings at night.
Obviously, morning meetings shut out county residents who must work, both from attending most meetings and from running for office.
The second point shouldn't be underestimated considering that two incumbent councilmen, Dale Dukes and Finley B. Jones, don't even have any challengers in the November general election.
Hopefully, council will do more than "consider" holding meetings at night. For a council that prides itself on its openness and accessibility to the people, such a move would go a long way to fulfilling that mission.
Rates for the Holts Landing Sanitary Sewer District are dropping from those projected during the referendum of 1998, Sussex County Finance Director David Baker told council at its Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2000 meeting.
Baker, in introducing an ordinance to set rates for the project, which will be reviewed at a public hearing Oct. 24 at 11 a.m., said the project could be completed by Nov. 1, 2000.
He said the total cost of the project is expected to come in at $1.855 million as opposed to the $2.3 million estimated in 1998.
Baker said the annual assessment rate will be $2.50 per foot of frontage versus the $4.25 per foot estimated in 1998 and that the one-time hookup fee will be $1,599 versus and estimated $1,700 during the referendum.
He did say that the $295 annual service charge will be higher than expected but that as more homes go into the area that figure should decrease, as well.
Baker noted that homeowners will pay $600 per year to a private utility company, Utility Systems Inc., for maintenance of the collection system.
County Administrator Robert L. Stickels, however, said homeowners have approached the county about the possiblity of buying the maintenance system with the county operating it. Stickels said he was "confident" the county could do so at less than $600 per year.
He added that the new system should help the water quality around the inland bays area that has experienced failed private septic systems in the past.
The Town of Delmar sent representatives to council to express its concerns about a dilapidated residence on State Street that lies outside the boundaries of the town but is still in Delaware.
The property, owned by Robert Jones, has been vacant for at least 10 years. It includes two buildings -- a house and a barn-type structure.
Delmar Code Enforcement Officer Gaylon Bounds said Jones asked in the past that the property be condemned and the buildings burned down by the Delmar Fire Department.
But the town, Bounds said, has been unable to act on the request because the property isn't within the town's limits.
Al Phillips, Landlord-Tenant Code Enforcement Officer for the county, said the county is trying to rectify the problem but while the fire department has expressed a willingness to perform a controlled burn on the barn-like structure, the house presents a problem because of fiber optic phone cables on the property.
Phillips said another factor in the delay is that a nearby resident has asthma, meaning the fire department must wait until wind conditions are such that smoke won't be blown into that resident's home.
Phillips said the fire department has told him that it could burn the barn-like structure down next week. He said the county is continuing to work towards eliminating the house.
Council unanimously approved a request from councilman Dale Dukes to donate $150 from his councilmanic district and $150 from councilman Vance Phillips' councilmanic district to the Laurel High School wrestling program.
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If you're looking for medical information on the Internet, a good place for basic information about medical topics is Drkoop.com, a site led by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop. In addition to reference material on more than 60 conditions, the site also provides breaking medical news and a dozen medical forums broken down by topic. You can search the site by symptom or by illness or disease.
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